Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The 80-year-old man was assaulted and died of a heart attack in a village near Ramallah, his family members say.

Ramallah, Occupied West Bank – An elderly Palestinian man was killed during his arrest and assault by the Israeli army in the village of Jiljilya on the outskirts of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to his family and local Palestinian officials.

Omar Abdulmajeed Asaad, 80, was driving home around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when he was stopped by Israeli soldiers during a military operation in the area.

His nephew told local media at Ramallah Hospital that “soldiers handcuffed him and blindfolded him, dragging him to the ground,” and “when they saw he was dead, they left.”

The family said he had breathing problems and died at the scene of a heart attack – an allegation confirmed by the Palestinian Ministry of Health that says Asaad arrived dead at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.

Photos shared on social media showed plastic handcuffs, apparently on the wrist of the 80-year-old who was apparently assaulted.

Yasser Qattoum, the Fatah movement’s secretary in Jiljilya, told Al Jazeera that the army was conducting an overnight raid.

“The army has been coming to Jiljilya for two nights in a row – special forces entering on foot,” Qattoum said, adding that the “army set up ambushes on Wednesday – either to arrest youths or for some sort of security operation.”

He said the Israeli army had stopped two other Palestinian cars while arresting and assaulting Assad, and that a verbal exchange took place with the soldiers, during which neighbors woke up and also witnessed the event.

“People watched from afar – it was between the houses. They left him and walked out on foot. “

He said that “Abu Hani”, as he is known in the town, had previously had open heart surgery.

Local council chief Fouad Qattoum said in a statement to local media that “what happened to the martyr is a field execution and a major crime that should not go unnoticed”.

“We demand an international investigation committee and for accountability for the criminals.”

A funeral for Asaad will be held in Jiljilya on Wednesday afternoon.

Overnight military raids by the Israeli army are an almost daily practice in the occupied West Bank, exposing Palestinians to live fire, arrests, assaults and killings. In 2021, the Israeli army led 3 406 search and arrest operations.

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